Moreno Valley Councilman Marcelo Co resigns amid welfare fraud charges

Moreno Valley Councilman Marcelo Co resigned Tuesday, a day after he was charged with fraudulently collecting $15,000 in home support services for his mother while she lived overseas.

Co, 64, was taken into custody Monday afternoon after the Riverside County district attorney’s office filed eight felony counts, including grand theft, fraud and making a false claim.

The 4th District councilman submitted his resignation from the seat he won in November 2010. In a letter to Mayor Tom Owings, Marcelo tendered his resignation, adding, "I wish you and the City continued success and I want the opportunity to thank you and my colleagues..."

District attorney spokesman John Hall said the charges are “entirely separate” from a joint FBI and local public corruption investigation that led to the April raid on the homes of Co and several other council members.

In the welfare fraud case, Co is accused of defrauding $15,000 from the In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) program. 

Prosecutors allege Co is listed as a provider for his mother and therefore collected IHSS income for her care. 

They claim it would have been impossible for Co to provide care for his mother during certain periods because she was not in the United States and he was. The program is administered by the county but financed by state and federal agencies.

Co was taken into custody in the 16500 block of Saddlebrook Lane, a street where his mother, Susan, acquired a home in April 2010.

An arrest warrant was issued on short notice Monday after investigators cited a potential flight risk for Co because he frequently visits Asia. The alleged fraud began in March 2010, according to charging documents.

Co’s arrest came Monday after the Moreno Valley city clerk approved a recall election for the councilman, who along with some of his colleagues has come under fire on accusations of political corruption. The mayor and another council member also are subjects of recall efforts.

Co’s home, those of four other council members and the offices of a local developer and a real estate broker were searched April 30 by a joint public corruption task force, whose members include federal and district attorney investigators. 

ALSO:

Los Angeles fire captain dies after collapsing on duty

Hannah Anderson 'a victim in every sense,' sheriff says 

Modern-day slave owner' sentenced for human trafficking in O.C. 

Twitter: @lacrimes| Google+

richard.winton@latimes.com

Copyright © 2017, Los Angeles Times
63°